750 N. St. Paul Street is a massive, towering structure of glass. Its sleek walls shoot up out of the concrete sidewalk, dwarfing the Dallas Museum of Art. Businesspeople purposefully march through the rotating doors with liberal-arts professor confidence. And then there’s me. The intern.
On my first day working for D Magazine, I got out of class with 10 minutes to make the mile-long trek to my car. Mid frantic speed-walk to the garage, it suddenly dawned on me that I had no clue where I’d parked.
After an extensive search of the dark, muggy SMU garage for my Volkswagen Tiguan — affectionately dubbed Tiggy — I sped onto North Central Expressway, Apple maps directions in hand.
I will not be late. It is my first day. I cannot be late.
Practically hyperventilating — in a way only an intern could — I audibly sighed with relief when I spotted a garage next to the office. Parallel parking? That would have been asking for a massive scrape down the side of sweet Tiggy.
I stopped immediately outside the rotating doors on St. Paul Street and looked down at my black velvet skirt and modest v-neck t-shirt. My eyes darted back up to catch a glance of a businesswoman in a pantsuit. Briefly wondering whether I should say a quick prayer to the fashion gods, I shook the nervous energy off.
Fake it till you make it, I guess.
At that moment, I made a deal with myself to not become the frightened, wide-eyed intern. How tough could this be, anyway? Stepping onto the elevator, a man joined me, nodding his head in my direction. He seemed to be in his mid-40s, salt-and-pepper hair combed impeccably. His faint purple button down tucked into smooth gray slacks somehow commanded authority. He pressed floor 21 — the D Magazine floor. I held my breath. Leaning against the metallic sides of the elevator, he glanced down in my direction. “Are you an intern?”
Did I really exude intern already?
Following a brief exchange and a “good luck” from the salt-and-pepper man, I stepped onto the 21st floor and spun around in a slow circle, attempting to get my bearings. Meandering toward the front desk, I examined the open expanse of the office, certainly looking like a small, lost animal in the process.
Somehow maintaining enough composure to not laugh at my cluelessness, the woman at the front desk, Marissa, led me to meet Christiana, my go-to girl for the next few months. Christiana spun around in her chair, her sand-tinted hair cascading over her shoulders, snacking on some sort of candy. “Oh, you’re here!” she said. “I’ll give you a little tour.”
Once we walked into the common area, her kind, melodic voice could barely hold my attention. The room is surrounded by large windows, allowing natural light to pour in. And the view — my God — the view is what you read about in unoriginal romance books or hear about in telenovelas idealizing the American Dream. All of Dallas unfolds under your gaze, the pearly arches of Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge serving as a backdrop to the Texas skyscrapers, glistening — almost shimmering — like precious metals under the nectarine sun.
I snapped back to reality as Christiana began to introduce me to my new coworkers. Everyone was jovial — giddy on the verge of completing the newest issue of D. The welcoming atmosphere was uplifting and invigorating.
Somehow, I’m actually excited to do busy work for these people.
It soon became apparent that I was the baby of the office; a sophomore in college, practically crawling into the intern space with a pacifier and a diaper. Yet, whether it be due to a disregard for fear or borderline insanity, my status didn’t deter me or make me cower. Two of the five editors from my interview months back not only remembered me, but welcomed me with open arms. This reassurance sealed the deal.
Yes, this is where I’m supposed to be.
I may spend most of my days fact checking and picking up the phone — yet I also get the opportunity to meet the CEO, network, do résumé workshops, and write posts like this! I guess the life of an intern may not be just picking up coffee after all.